Ski resorts by train

Does Black Friday make sense for the ski industry?

Thu 05 December, 2019


Daniel Elkan

Personally, I’m glad to see the back of Black Friday, as are lots of people I know. Perhaps you feel this way too.

Sell people stuff they don’t need
Black Friday feels like companies desperately trying to create FOMO in people, and entice them into buying things they don’t need.  Suddenly a bunch of stuff that is normally more expensive, seems to be hugely discounted.  But this huge and increasingly expected discounting is either too good to be true, or it’s taking the mickey out of everyone who buys before or after Black Friday.  If it’s the former, it’s a falsehood and wrong; if it’s the latter, it alienates the majority of customers and reduced confidence, to boot. 

We need to buy less, not more
All the material stuff we buy, has a cost. Not just a financial cost, but an environment and social cost.  These costs are hidden from consumers. Companies don't want us to know that Mexican villages are sufferning water shortages because we want smashed avocado on toast; or that the precious metals required for our phoney phone upgrade comes from mines where adults and children work in pitiful conditions, for a pitance. Or that it can take 2,700 litres of water to make a T-shirt. Much better to buy from a charity shop, of course, so nothing new has to be made and the money goes to a good cause. Steve Cutt's short film, 'Wake Up Call' is a brilliant encapsulation of the madness.

Is ski industry different?
I was surprised to see how many ski tour operators and other ski-industry companies were offering Black Friday ‘deals’.  I have never understood the rationale.

Because, thinking about it, if you are a ski company that offers a Black Friday deal, you have three types of customer:

A.    Customers that bought a holiday from you BEFORE your Black Friday offers came out.
B.    Customers that bought a Black Friday deal from you.
C.    Customers that bought a holiday from you AFTER your Black Friday offers came out.

If the ‘deals’ were so amazing, then all the Type A customers should have waited for Black Friday. Now they feel hard done by. And all the customers of Type C have missed out.

And Type B? Well, if the deals are so good, why are they being offered for just one week? What’s the point? Maybe I’m being dumb and there’s something I haven’t realised. But for the ski industry particularly, as well as many others, Black Friday doesn’t seem make sense.

What we need in ski, and any industry, is fair prices that reward people for booking early, where possible.  And if there really are cheap deals to give away, give them to people on lower incomes who would love to go on a ski holiday but who normally can't afford to, in some organised, effective way.